Sunday, 11 September 2011

Nothing is impossible

This picture defies logic and is a great example that anything is possible if we just take some time and patience to find the solution and explore the opportunities.

With thanks to Responsible fishing UK for Fantastic picture - more stunning photo's of balance can be found on their Facebook page and web site.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

When someone says "Chocolate" what do you think of?

I was reminded of an exercise I use with groups when in a session with internal stakeholders of a procurement team last week.

In the exercise I ask everyone to write the first eight words that come to mind when they hear the word “chocolate”. They then spend some time comparing their answers with others in the room. There is a whole range of possible answers, that could include:

Milk, dark, bitter, bake, dog, buttons, sweet, good, bad, healthy, unhealthy, bar, biscuits, strawberries, cocoa, Fairtrade, relaxation, fountain, Labrador, sugar, hot, fattening, present, gift, orange, yucky, yummy.

The one word that seems to come up most often is milk, shared by about three-quarters of the group. The second most common word is usually shared with less than half of the people participating in the exercise. Very soon we’re looking at just a small percentage of people sharing a word. Sometimes someone may not share a single word with anyone in the room. Generally most people will have three or four associated words that are unique to them.

It’s clear that even for a simple word such as chocolate there are different things going on in our minds when we hear it. It’s this meaning to us that will impact our actions, reactions, words and behaviours and yet we often use words assuming a common understanding.

In last week’s meeting I realised every internal stakeholder in the room had a different interpretation for “procurement”. When the stakeholder heard the phrase “best practice procurement” their interpretation of procurement meant they thought they were already doing it. Continuing to use the word wasn’t going to change that so we had to start using new words that expanded their understanding.

New words that enabled them to understand in much more detail what was involved in the Initiate Project, Research & Analyse, Develop Strategy, Implement Strategy and Implement Contract steps.

The next time you’re not getting the response you’re expecting, it might be that they consider what you’re talking about to be yucky, not yummy.

Also blogged on Supply Management. Image from Dogs & Puppies

Landscaping Your Life Principles

The following list is included on many posters and suggests its origins come from the native american culture and is often titled:

The Ten Indian Commandments

  • Treat the earth and all that dwell thereon with respect

  • Remain close to great spirit

  • Show great respect for your fellow beings

  • Work together for the benefit of all mankind

  • Give assistance and kindness wherever needed

  • Do what you know to be right

  • Look after the well being of mind & body

  • Dedicate a share of your efforts to the greater good

  • Be truthful and honest at all times

  • Take full responsibility for your actions

  • Irrespective of who really first said them, if we connected in this way with the landscape and others on this planet of ours, then I certainly think we'll find our connection within more easily. Do join me on my Landscaping Your Life facebook page where I share more on the process that uses landscapes as metaphors for life. Although I'm starting to think that perhaps landscapes are really a mirror for our lives not simply a metaphor.

    Image used from The History of Pachakamak

    Tuesday, 30 August 2011

    Keeping on Track in a Downturn

    The following contains details of the initial discussion undertaken during a group session I facilitated using the FCP process some time ago that I've sent to a few people recently and thought may provide insight at this time too.

    Here's the first few insights - if you're interested in further insights then there's a link to the remaining pdf containing the full notes at the end.

    You broke through your closed shell of isolation into a true understanding and experience of team work.

    There are 3 aspects to this card:

  • breaking through the closed shell of isolation

  • true understanding of teamwork

  • true experience of teamwork

  • It’s certainly very difficult to keep on track if we isolate ourselves, so too if we experience teamwork where everyone operates in their own silos.

    Perhaps we’re being asked to consider what breaking through our closed shell of isolation into a true understanding and experience of teamwork would look, sound and feel like or perhaps it’s a reminder we’re already doing it.

    It’s very easy to think we’ll calm down or take time out once we’ve finished everything, once the downturn is over. Here we’re being asked to bring a quality of peace into our lives now. Knowing that from that place of peace we’re more likely to make better decisions and wiser choices.

    The session concluded with the mentor of Authenticity ....Continued

    The process, the insight, setback and mentor cards used here are from the Frameworks for Change © Innerlinks -

    Image from Andrew Jones Photography (my brother too :-))

    Monday, 29 August 2011


    I was asked today for a copy of a story I'd written and thought I'd share it here too.

    Here's the first few para's and then a link to the full version (It's a short story so only 2 pages long).

    “iPhone iPhone in my hand who is the fairest in the land” Eleanor said out loud hoping against all hope that the answer would be “Eleanor is the fairest in the land” and was therefore very disappointed when the answer was someone in Norway she’d never heard of.

    Like a lot of people Eleanor had been delighted when a new iPhone application has been launched. It was a comparison application but instead of comparing prices it compared skills and attributes. Within a week she’d discovered that she didn’t have the thinnest ankles, the glossiest hair, the whitest teeth or the most perfect breasts. She’d also discovered that she wasn’t the best nonfiction writer, communication trainer, motivational speaker or career coach. With every question she asked she found out that someone else was better than her. Her mood therefore took a huge turn for the worse and friends and family got very wary of speaking to her. Nothing they said seemed to make any difference. In fact it made matters worse because when they listed something they thought she excelled in – she just asked the iPhone and it gave her the name of someone else. To her every name was more evidence that she wasn’t good at anything even if she didn’t always agree with the answer the phone gave. To Eleanor there was a whole world out there better at everything than her with better skills, better minds and certainly better bodies. Whenever she thought she might have found a question that would give her the answer she craved she was always disappointed – the best bathroom went to a couple in Hong Kong and even the cleanest small bedroom window facing west (when she’d started to clutch at straws) went to a man in Canada.


    Thursday, 11 August 2011

    Bad apples just get more rotten – it’s time to change the metaphor

    I have been inundated with examples of the different ways we can view good and bad over the last week and thought I’d share the thoughts that have arisen for me:

    One key conversation was with a friend about being a ‘good person’ vs a ‘bad person.’

    I agree certain behaviours are bad (although I’m pretty sure we’ll all have different scales for what goes where) but that doesn’t make the people doing them bad. If we continue to label others as bad then it’s not long before we continue with that metaphor and believe them to be rotten, like an apple, and therefore useless. The only option then is for them to be discarded. As a metaphor it’s not got a lot going for it, it certainly doesn’t provide a lot of options other than perhaps to bury the apple and hope the seeds have some life left in them!

    I wondered what might be a more helpful and resourceful metaphor – what about:

    Tomatoes – because they need the right soil, nutrients, feeding, watering, heat and light. This is they need TLC and the right conditions to enable them to flourish. Although perhaps unhelpful when thrown at others rather than eaten as part of a healthy diet.

    Flowers – what I like about this metaphor is flowers can flourish in many environments despite the lack of the ‘right’ conditions. But constant lack of any of the right conditions will certainly not allow for a flourishing, vigorous and beautiful flower.

    With both these examples at least it’s easier to understand what is needed to ensure the plant flourishes and contributes to the garden. It’s also useful to consider the impact of the greenhouse, the gardener and tools used because ultimately these too will determine the extent to which the plants flourish.

    What metaphors do you use to describe others and in what way might these be unhelpful to finding a solution to the issue.


    Alison Smith
    Helping Teams see the Wood for the Trees

    For more on the Landscaping your Life metaphor I use with individuals and teams do visit my facebook and youtube pages. You may also like a recent blog on Growing your own stakeholders on Supply Management.

    Tuesday, 9 August 2011

    Nettles and Dock Leaves

    One way of interpreting this combination of plants is that an opportunity to solve a problem is never that far away. To explore this more fully I thought I'd use the Frameworks for change Coaching Process to see what other insights might be available especially on this #riotcleanup day here in the UK:

    Insight: You express honesty and truthfulness in each moment.
    When ever I look at nature I am always reminded that each flower and plant offers it's own uniqueness and ask myself why we constantly try to be like other people rather than accept we are who we are in all our uniqueness. Of course this is also true in reverse why do we so often try to get everyone to be like us and not not accept and embrace their uniqueness?

    Setback: You are setback by ARROGANCE in the present situation
    I wonder whether this a continuation of the last point i.e. it's easy to believe we're a Dock Leaf providing healing balm to those stung rather than accept that we might just be the nettle. Isn't it useful to be reminded that sometimes we're the ones capable of stinging others too? We may have other virtues but we all come with beliefs, skills or behaviours some might perceive as negative and unhelpful. To move forward it's about us all releasing the setback of believing we're better than others and accepting and embracing ours and their uniqueness.

    Insight: You value and express the quality of SUPPORT in the current situation
    You might see that the Dock Leaf supports the Nettle and perhaps that's the point - that we each need others around us who can support us and point out our less positive traits so that we may learn and grown. This of course is infinitely more possible if we've let the arrogance go. Who are you supporting today?

    Mentor: Transformation
    If we took on the beliefs and behaviours of our role model for transformation what difference would that make - what would we be thinking, what would we be saying and what would we be doing differently? One question - What's stopping us?

    I hope you found this helpful. If so you may find the notes from the session entitled 'Keeping on track in a downturn' helpful too. I love that the final mentor was Authenticity. It's certainly a great process for use in groups as well as in coaching sessions.

    Helping, ok nudging, us all to realise our potential
    Alison 07770 538159

    The process, the insight, setback and mentor cards used here are from the
    Frameworks for Change © Innerlinks -

    Thursday, 4 August 2011

    Nameste or Oel ngati kameie

    Someone tweeted "Namaste" yesterday and I was reminded of my blog from a few years ago and wanted to share it again here today:

    Nameste or Oel ngati kameie? Both of these are greetings and I wonder how different our relationships at work would be if we used them – although I would suggest that Namaste might be easier to say :-)

    When you greet someone with hello what are you thinking about? I’d suggest very little. It’s often just a word at the top of an email or the start of the conversation and is simply a means to the rest of the conversation. I wonder if the other person even registers it.

    When I watched the film Avatar I loved the Na’vi’s welcome “Oel ngati kameie” which translates as “I see you.” I see you feels to me like an appreciation of the person with whom we’re communicating. Surely such an appreciation would be a great way to start any conversation - in spirit if not word.

    The Sanskrit word Nameste has a similar meaning. One translation I particularly like, although perhaps not strictly grammatically accurate, is “I honour the spirit in you.” On researching for this blog I realise there are other words that are used around the globe for hello which have similar meanings and these include Aloha, Shalom, Salaam etc.

    I like that these start the conversation recognising and appreciating a connection between both/all parties. I just wonder what difference it would make if we used them more regularly at work - even just in our heads.

    The responses to the blog at the time suggested that just remembering to say "good morning" could make as much difference and my response to that was:

    It's perhaps not the word but the intent that matters. Hello can illicit the same response if said with meaning and a desire to connect as much as any of my other suggestions.

    Au Revior (until we meet again here or in person)

    Wednesday, 3 August 2011

    Let go

    At this time of year I get quite a few butterflies in my office. They generally flutter about the room and then head back off to the window.

    The common trait as they search for the open window (at the bottom) is they head up to the top panel of glass, then they come down and then get stuck between the 2 panes of glass. Once they stop trying so heard to fly up and relax they fall through the very small gap between the two panes as this video shows.

    Next time you're stuck in a situation it might be useful to consider there may be less obvious options available that require no effort at all.

    Do come visit me on YouTube or Facebook for more on #Landscapingyourlife.

    What ends up in your personal junk folder

    I tweeted recently that unless we follow people we disagree with our twitter feed is likely to represent and not challenge our view of the world. That’s no different in other areas of our life. That is what we pay attention to will normally support our worldview.

    There’s approximately 2 billion pieces of data coming into our senses every second!! With that much data available it would be easy to get overloaded. It’s our Reticular Activating System (RAS) that acts as a filter – it’s a tracking system that brings to our attention data that it thinks is important to us. It’s basically a SPAM filter which bases its assessment of importance on if:

    • It is important to our survival
    • It is different or out of the norm
    • It has emotional content for us personally
    • It supports our beliefs
    • It helps us achieve our goals

    And everything else ends up in Junk mail.

    This is why, once we set goals, we start to notice information that will help us achieve them – whether that’s useful information or people. Or why suddenly there are more cars the same as our new one on the road.

    There’s much we can do to become more aware and even set our own SPAM filter to ensure we’re not missing vital information. I just wanted to remind you that your beliefs will determine what you notice. For example I bet you can give me recent examples of drivers of white van's (hijacking a common belief here in the UK about their bad driving for a moment) who were driving recklessly and didn’t notice the larger percentage of occasions where they were courteous.

    How do your criteria need redefining to stop useful information going into your junk mail?

    Helping you realise the potential of Procurement


    Tuesday, 2 August 2011

    Effective Tweeting at conferences

    I’ve vicariously followed many conferences on Twitter over the last couple of years and the following is a summary of my tips on engaging more effectively for all involved (audience, speakers & organisers).

    NB: Obviously, in sharing, some of my own behaviours and beliefs about use of SoMe will become apparent. I’ve also made assumptions about the objectives of each of the groups involved. In other words these might not all apply – so do please share your tips so that we make this a more comprehensive list.


  • Understand your objective for tweeting from the conference.

  • Understand your preferred learning style and know if tweeting during the speeches will support or hinder the objectives you have for attendance – better to share learning and engage with twitter after the speech or even event if you know that will work best for you.

  • Find out and use the #conferencehashtag.

  • Find out and use the @speakerstwittername.

  • Tweeting “great speech from @speaker” is ok but does this meet your objectives and does it help your followers and the followers of the #hashtag?

  • “Great speech from @ speaker @#hashtag because I learnt this, will do this differently or even because he made me laugh, cry, jump up and down” is much better.

  • Remember the conference is a wonderful opportunity to talk to new people not tweet to people you already have a connection with – you can catch up with them as you travel home?

  • Speakers

  • Ensure tweet profile is up to date and ensure profile or more recent tweet provides links to website/blog or other means of finding out what you do (you might not use twitter but much of the audience might).

  • Ensure people at the conference know your @twittername – getting it into your intro would be GREAT.

  • Understand what your objectives are for your audience and encourage tweets that support or reinforce that.
    (My concern is if we’re busy tweeting what you said will that translate into insight or action in the future? I do think tweeting can keep us at theoretical level rather than applying it. Evidence from conferences I’ve followed would support that as there is a distinct lack of sharing on things beyond what was being said. I’ve often asked what will you do differently and get NO reply – is that because people don’t know because they were too busy tweeting what was said? I get plenty of engagement otherwise.)

  • Engage with those tweeting about your speech (More often than not I will follow someone who does that whether it’s my tweet they’ve replied to or someone else’s. It’s a great way of reinforcing a point or clarifying it).

  • If you’re tweeting about another speaker use their @twittername.

  • Organisers

  • Consider employing professional tweeters to raise profile of conference ahead of and during conference.

  • Agree and communicate in all marketing literature and tweet the #conferencehashtag – not halfway through the first day please.

  • Engage with attendees before the event (ask for twitter name in registration) – about #hashtag, speakers, venue, accommodation, food, networking opportunities etc.

  • Ensure all speakers know each other’s @twitternames.

  • Engage with those tweeting especially those using incorrect #hashtag.

  • Regularly tweet, throughout the conference, what the #hashtag means with links.

  • Ensure you have a transcript of #hashtagtweets at the end so those attending, those in different #timezones or those finding #hashtag later in day can review what’s been said.

  • Which is why employing a professional tweeter makes sense.

  • Hope something here has helped - do share your tips too.

    Monday, 1 August 2011

    Speaker Authenticity - it's more than truth telling

    Authenticity is something that is often mentioned as an aspiration of speakers. As a speaker myself and writing this to other speakers I think it’s useful to remember that we all judge others by our own definition. That is we each have our own definition, so too our colleagues, other speakers and audiences.

    I’d suggest therefore that understanding our own and other’s views on authenticity may be useful. Without that understanding how can we ensure when speaking we avoid following others’ advice to become more authentic when that very action could make us less so.

    This weekend I found myself tweeting the following in response to an exchange from other twits at @influence11 (see #nsa11) a conference of professional speakers in California:

    alisonrbcm: challenge is that sometimes following others advice can take you away from being authentic and make it more 'manufactured'

    alisonrbcm: wonder if telling it {the story} to be of service vs telling it to make more sales also makes a difference on authenticity felt by audience

    alisonrbcm: something about congruency with self and not congruency with what we think we have to be to be accepted

    These reflect the feeling I have that authenticity is more than simply truth telling, more than just not lying and yes even more than showing vulnerability. Looking on the internet for a definition I liked the one over on Wiki:

    "Authenticity is the degree to which one is true to one's own personality, spirit, or character, despite these {external} pressures."

    If this is true then it’s perhaps easier to see how we can determine whether we’re achieving this for ourselves – but how can we assess others against this? How can we know if someone is being true to their spirit? I’d love to know how YOU know.

    For me my assessment has an energetic component ie where do I feel the speaker’s communication is coming from: ie their head, heart, spirit or body and where is it going to: ie my head, heart, spirit, back of the room or someplace else? Which is why I will disagree with many when I only feel the connection from the speaker’s head to mine rather than more deeply heart to heart or spirit to spirit.

    I've raised a discussion in LinkedIn to share your thoughts - do join us there.

    Tuesday, 26 July 2011

    Don't speak ill of another

    I saw a tweet the other day that said “Don’t speak ill of others – write it in the sand by the water’s edge.” Which I paid attention to for reasons that become clear if you visit the #landscapingyourlife facebook page which the photo above was taken for.

    What interested me on Sunday, as I took the picture and posted it on Twitter, was how apt it was for twitter that day. My twitter feed was full of people speaking ill of those that were making the headlines over the weekend.

    I was reminded of a video from 1992, which I only recently saw, where a 12 year old reminded us that adults tell children not to do things and then promptly do them all themselves. On twitter and even on other blogs I can see adults doing what they tell children off for doing and that’s ‘calling others names’ or labelling them as this or judging them as that. How can we know these words to be true, what reason is there for doing it and what’s the positive outcome?

    My suggestion today is if we wouldn’t let our child say the words about someone at school don’t say them about someone else.


    Alison Smith
    Helping teams realise their potential

    PS: Authentic Power’s blog yesterday on not judging her mother is another great reminder about the impact we have when we attach judgement to others. Another piece by Julia Hill perhaps more related to the landscape metaphors I mentioned earlier said ”I thought to myself, how in the world do we think we can end the clear-cutting on the planet if we’re so effective at clear-cutting each other”

    All you need is some extra motivation

    My favourite phrase is by Guillaume Apollinaire and says:

    "Come to the edge" he said.
    They said "We are afraid"
    "Come to the edge" he said.
    They came. He pushed them.
    And they flew.

    This quote has never been so apt as it was this morning as I watched fledgling seagull twins (see picture of them with one parent) as they were fed by their parents. They’ve not long left their nest and for the next few weeks they will spend much of the time on the ground being fed by their parents as they learn to fly. As in previous years their initial flying attempts are over walls and more hop like than flight and will go on for many days/weeks as their confidence and flying and feeding skills develop.

    This morning I realised, however, that they could perhaps fly sooner if they had sufficient motivation. A third chick appeared and the parents of the twins made it very clear it was not welcome and were attacking it. I could not believe the flight this chick then took – over the road, over gardens aerial acrobatics at it’s very best as it was chased by one of the parents.

    I wonder how often in life we all need that extra motivation to get moving?

    Thursday, 21 July 2011

    Landscaping Your Life

    I will be developing a new blog to cover this new tool but for the time being just wanted to let you know all about Landscaping Your Life (LYL) - as I'm very excited.

    It's been a friend since I developed it 10 years ago. It uses landscapes as metaphors for life. You know the sort of thing: stuck in a rut, walking through mud, going around the bend, going with the flow, plain sailing etc. In essence LYL helps you effortlessly (because we're using a metaphor) plot a route from where you are to where you want to be and take the necessary steps to get there.

    It's very flexible. So, whilst if the weather is fine I do like to get management teams outside walking around real landscapes, photographs work just as well - it's just a different process. In fact many of those who were at the very first LYL session in the early 'oo's still have their landscapes at home and still remember the learning and insight.

    I've set up a facebook page to share LYL ideas and concepts to keep you on track. July competition is all about Milestones. I'm also sharing LYL videos on youtube which currently includes:

    * Going with, not fighting, the tide,

    * Stepping out into the unknown,

    * Looking around the corner (or going around the bend)

    * Getting out of the rut (pictures of which will be the August competition over on my FB page).

    I look forward to landscaping our lives together

    Alison 07770 538159

    Sunday, 10 July 2011

    Job satisfaction - how important is it?

    I’m currently working on a contract cleaning project. As part of this we’re developing the business requirements which has involved considering how we define what clean looks like. It’s also involved an assessment of current practice. This assessment has included the time taken to undertake the cleaning. Comparison of these times across the organisation may, along with other data gathered, enable us to identify best practice.

    Imagine then my quandary when I read in the Urban Worrier by Nick Thorpe about his experience of bed making at a monastery in New Mexico. He realised that his need for speed and competitive nature wasn’t enabling him to fully embrace the activity and enjoy it. So “I give in and slow down”... “I would not, I suspect, win a hotel cleaning contract – but I defy you to find more contended cleaners.”

    As a procurement professional my goal is to ensure value for money for the organisation and have, and I’m sure will continue, to negotiate contracts that focus on speed to undertake activities. As a coach my goal is often about ensuring job satisfaction including wellbeing and passion for life. I just wonder whether, how and when as a procurement professional I should be considering job satisfaction of our suppliers?

    Are we each any better than the NOTW?

    On the one hand I join with others in outrage at the actions of some News of the World employees and contractors regarding phone hacking. On the other I wonder at our ability to forget we're often no different. Don't we, just like the NOTW, keep quiet until it's no longer feasible - whether that's in personal, commercial, national, international or global interests.

    Apparently the phone hacking took place 6 years ago - yet it's only now that anything has happened. Many people must have been involved and many more must have known about it and yet no one said anything - and not just Rebekah Brooks.

    It's as if a blind eye is turned until someone else gathers irrefutable evidence and/or we realise others agree with us and public opinion is on our side that we take action. It's as if when the game is finally over we suddenly start speaking up! Until that time we'll keep quiet along with everyone else.

    I'm very sad about the amount of time and media space taken on this story when there are many others that have more far reaching and significant impacts. I'd like to hope that this story signifies a change in people speaking up - I suspect however that it's the very fact that speaking up isn't personally impacting those doing it that nothing will change :-(

    Tuesday, 5 July 2011

    What level of perfection are you aiming at?

    Last night someone on the TV said we must aim for perfection ie 100% because then we might achieve 95%. He suggested if we didn’t aim that high we would end up settling for 75%.

    I understand the sentiment but surely it can’t be that simple. After all much of my coaching and facilitation is aimed at helping those who are seriously and negatively impacted by their drive for 100%.

    I’ve been thinking about perfection since I watched the Red Arrows in an aerial display over Edinburgh a week ago soaring over us with such precision and yes perfection. Here’s where I’ve got to and would love your comments to help refine and expand my thinking.

    Whilst I don’t know what level of perfection the Red Arrows need to be at for a display I’d suggest it’s nearing 100%. It needs to be and perhaps that’s the key – if the risk is high enough the price paid (in any resources e.g. time, effort, £ etc ) in achieving perfection is necessary. However for those flying with the Red Arrows I’m sure the activities they need to perfect are very specific. They’re not asked to be in armed combat or carry out other duties. They’re allowed to concentrate all their attention on perfecting a specific number of skills over a very specific period of time. I’m sure that must be the same for any other risky and perfection needing professions such as surgeons, emergency services etc.

    So what do I think we can learn from this?

    * Accept that perfection isn’t possible for everything we do
    * Allow the risk to assess the activities we wish to apply perfection to
    * And if we’re going to aim for perfection limit the skills we’re aiming for perfection in

    Tuesday, 21 June 2011

    Vision, optimism, honesty & leadership

    Dangerous things tweets...... I tweet to say I’m off to do some #solstice scene setting for the year ahead and Charlie tweets back asking if I’ll share it on HRZONE ... so don’t blame me that’s all I can say...

    There’s a number of times a year when I take the opportunity to review where I’m at. How I do that depends on which aspect of my life I’m looking at. Sometimes I might do a collage, paint a plate or just go for a walk. Other times the templates might come out as I dive into some business or strategic planning tool. And other times I’ll get the cards out .....

    Today the cards in question are from the Frameworks for change Coaching Process but could quite as easily include other business or non business cards sets. Using cards can be a great way to tap into our inner wisdom to provide insight to the current situation. ‘Acting as if’ the cards do relate to the situation is what allows us to creatively explore the solution to an issue.

    If you want to find out more about the process then read notes from a group session here otherwise join me as I ‘act as if’ the cards chosen will provide some insight for me for the next 6 months. At the same time you may notice insights as you read my story and experience your own relationship with the cards.

    Vision: As I think about this card it reminds me to get my head up from all the paper, lists, objectives, goals, KPI’s, the cash flow forecast and all the rest and get in touch with the VISION of where I’m headed. If I was coaching myself I’d be asking what would it look, sound and feel like. And as I do that, even very quickly, I realise it’s very much about head up from PC and looking out and connecting with the world. Might not mean much to you but it certainly does to me.

    Optimism: I do know optimism will help but when we get a card it’s not about what we already know or are doing. We explore but what else we could be doing. So for me this is about remembering the physiology that helps me be more optimistic. I’m not sure the amount of time spent hunched over my pc of recent months really means I’ve been in an optimistic physiology much of the time. Must remember to sit up, shoulders back, head up and remember to move more often.

    I spent time wallowing in a state of negativity and unexpressed resentment: (yes the card set includes setbacks too) ouch - there’s certainly a theme going on - so what more is there to be gleaned from this card that’s not already been covered? *Pause as I think a little* For me I wonder if it’s the wallowing aspect of the card. An image of hippos comes to mind – do they wallow – I imagine it’s a great effort to do anything fast and perhaps they’d just prefer to stay where they are and do what they’ve been doing even if it’s not the cleanest water or a little deeper than they’d like. Mmm... so yes perhaps an antidote to ‘wallowing’ is needed and another reminder to get my head up.

    Honesty: (I’ve shared my personal response to cards in blogs and newsletters many times and often think I could just put a card back but never do and share in the belief that others will benefit too however uncomfortable this might be for me – thanks Charlie :-)). Although on reflection not too bad really as I think it’s honesty with myself. Perhaps I have just been wallowing and need to be honest to myself about that and take myself more forcefully in hand and get the body moving. After all it’s me who has the ability to make any changes not anyone else.

    Leadership: What I’m reminded of here is how I feel when I’m facilitating a group and the leaderships skills that I use then. It feels like I use these skills on behalf of others when coaching, facilitating or consulting but just manage myself through all those lists and KPI’s etc! What would I do differently if I was applying leadership to my own life not just trying to manage it? That certainly sounds different.

    I’ll certainly let you know how I get on with being more open to vision, optimism, honesty & leadership over coming weeks and months. Do share any insights you had for yourself as you read the blog.

    Transforming purchasing relationships with vision, optimism, honesty & leadership


    The process, the insight, setback and mentor cards used here are from the Frameworks for Change coaching process © Innerlinks -

    Monday, 30 May 2011

    Business Values - do they really exist?

    Values are what drive all our behaviours and are our unconscious motivators and de-motivators. Understanding them more, therefore, helps us to explore changes that may need to take place in order for progress to be made towards our goals. What values aren’t - are things we decide or even choose to have ie they’re not conscious they’re unconscious.

    The challenge is can we translate personal values into business values? I know many organisations have published values statements but I wonder can we really suggest the current values statements used by most organisations are the same or even similar to our personal and unconscious values? And therefore should we be even calling them such? I’d suggest not - for a number of reasons:

    • When eliciting personal values we start with an individual’s behaviour to understand the value(s) driving that behaviour. Business values seem to work the other way round and simply become aspirational choices rather than something that reflects or explains current actions.

    • Personal values cover ALL our actions. Many business values seem to concentrate on the ‘softer’ aspirational values and forget about the ‘harder’ values that inform for example the strategic direction, profitability or pricing choices made.

    • Even if people have the same core value, what behaviours they judge to be acceptable or unacceptable will differ greatly. Why else, for example, are there numerous linkedin group discussions exploring what integrity or honesty mean. Business values statements are therefore useless without a statement of behaviour to identify what the values looks like for that organisation.

    • Because they’re our personal values it’s automatic for us to behave in ways that support them. Unless our values are aligned with an organisation’s it’s likely we may find taking on its values and associated behaviours difficult. If they’re in conflict with our own even more so. I certainly don’t see much evidence of values based alignment in interviews or restructuring when new or updated values statements are published.

    • Making any changes to our personal values and/or their hierarchy (ie their relationship to each other) is not easy. Yet organisations’ management teams seem to be able to find it easy to issue a values statement and assume it’ll work.

    Which all means I’d much prefer we found a different term for all those business values statements.

    Thursday, 26 May 2011

    Can you be faithless and therefore trustworthy?

    An article in Supply Management told us to 'Sacrifice yourself rather than your principles' and had me thinking about my favourite topic of authenticity and the implications of being authentic in the workplace.

    I'll share other thoughts over the coming weeks but wanted to start with this.....

    There's a wonderful quote in The Invitation that asks...

    It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me is true;
    I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself;
    If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul;
    If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.

    It's a quote I often share with clients and yet it's the one that some find they are unable, or should I say unwilling, to embrace.

    During our day to day activities we work with other people, we rest with other people and we play with other people. It's during all this activity that we make promises - whether explicitly stated or implied e.g.

    * I will do this or that for you
    * I will support you
    * I will be there for you
    * I do believe in you etc

    Sometimes these promises are very easy to keep. Sometimes we know we shouldn't be making the promise from the start, other times it just becomes harder for us to keep and other times the promise is no longer valid for the person we have become.

    The issue is what do we do when the promise is one we know we can longer keep, when we know that it's no longer supporting us? In these instances many stick to the promises they have made even though it's slowly eroding at who they are and may even be making them ill.

    In the Invitation the author shares "I suddenly realised that the people in my life you are the most trustworthy, are not those who always keep their agreements with me. Those who can be faithless - who can bear the responsibility or breaking an agreement with someone when the alternative is to betray themselves - are trustworthy."

    Can you bare the accusation of betrayal to be true to yourself today?

    Monday, 9 May 2011

    Sometime you have to let them bang their head - over and over

    Yesterday a friend and I came out of the house and there was a bee banging repeatedly against the window trying to get out only a few inches away from an open door. My friend went to help it out and I stopped her - I stopped her because it was a pattern we'd been discussing about helping people.

    Humans can be just like the bee. We can keep doing the same thing and if someone helps (forces?) us to change we may initially fly through the door but often sooner or later we’ll be back again. Back banging our head against the window until we decide we want to stop doing what we’ve always done to do something different. The person who can see the open door has a choice to stay and encourage them or fly through the door? If they stay they may find they get stuck there, lose interest in leaving or even start banging their head too. If they go through the door they may be followed or may not.

    Of course bees aren't human so perhaps we could have helped the bee?

    Your habits are contagious - so are theirs

    It's often been said if you want to be wealthy to hang around with the wealthy and certainly stop spending time with those who aren't. Having spent a day with Dr David Hamilton at the weekend I realise that’s also true for all our:

    Habits – health, relationships, team working, communication, performance
    Emotions – happiness, fear, anger, depression
    And yes even yawns!

    That is these are all catching – we can get infected by others and of course we do our fair share of infecting too. So if you have goals you want to achieve you’d best check that the habits and emotions of those around you, up to 3 degrees of separation, would be useful to you. Although the closer you are to someone the more likely you are to get infected!

    David has just released his new book ‘The contagious power of thinking’. The main premise of the book, supported by lots of research and science, is that we’re hard wired to copy others! The mirror neurons in our brain pick up on what others are doing and want to copy them. So if someone smiles at you your mirror neurons will subtly copy that smile and there’s very little you can do about it. Just as there’re very little you can do when someone passes a frown, anger of fear your way – not instantly anyway.
    This can have a significant impact in organisations as one study published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology showed where for each one point increase in a retail manager’s job satisfaction there was 5 percent increase in customer spending. Other studies including from Harvard support the findings about the ‘contagious power of thinking’.
    Who are you infecting and is it helping?

    Wednesday, 6 April 2011

    Well Being

    Source: via Karen on Pinterest
    6 weeks ago I set you some homeplay for the weekend to notice the impact how you were feeling had on those around you and what you wanted to do that weekend and in life generally.

    My invitation to journey with me as I've blogged since has been about not waiting until you've smashed up a shop (of the cup cake or any other variety), or you're signed off with stress or your relationships are falling apart to make the necessary changes.

    I certainly didn't want anyone believing the stories they tell themselves about not making the changes - you know the ones - it's my age, I can't, it's too late or even it won't change anything! In short if we don't have the energy to do what we need or want to do every day something has to change! and we can do it! you can do it!

    The suggestions on changes to be made are certainly known to us all. Unless I'm unique, I know the challenge is following through on the logic. As I found to my embarrassment today when, having realised I still wasn't eating enough of the right things to sustain what I'm up to on daily basis, my personal trainer decided to abandon the fitness element of my session and go look in the fridge to help me 'see' the healthy options that lay within!!

    The changes I've invited you to consider over the 6 weeks have included:
    I hope something I've said during these blogs has triggered something for you to help you understand what changes you might want to make and/or what changes you may be able to support others in your life with.

    Helping purchasing relationships find well being because it starts with the individual.


    Alison Smith
    07770 538159

    The final piece of the jigsaw

    At the beginning of March I started with a plea:

    Please don't allow yourself any excuse for not exploring how to make improvements in your life. And I mean practical things you can do that could dramatically improve your energy, positivity and overall well being and joy for life. Thus allowing you to more easily achieve your goals and live your dreams rather than purely exist.

    Recent weeks have seen me blog about the mind, body and heart's relationship to achieving the above. As you will see from this diagram, used by Stephen R Covey in the 8th Habit, there's still one element I've not covered and that's SPIRIT. It's not a topic that's often discussed in business circles and yet for me SPIRIT is the glue that brings it all together. For me spirit is simply finding a bigger meaning and purpose to what you do. Seán Weafer in a recent blog asked the question "what is the meaning of (your) life" and of course it's what ever you want it to be. In his blog Seán asks 10 questions to help you identify what a purposeful life would be for you. One question I often ask clients is "what do you get on your soap box about?" I know Neil Dorwood asks "What's your legacy?"

    What ever your answer it's that which will provide the motivation for you to get up on the days when perhaps your mind, body or heart would prefer that you just stayed in bed.

    What do you get on your soap box about? and how does what you do every day connect with that?

    Monday, 28 March 2011

    Let go of the past

    Kriss Akabusi gave the after dinner speech at the recent CIPS dinner and asked us to 'reference the past don't reside there'. I shared one learning from his speech on my Supplier Management blog. However as I reflect on March's theme of well being there's something else I'd like to discuss.

    I'd like you to imagine that we all have 100 watts of internal energy to use everyday. These 100 watts are available to achieve everything we want in the day: all the thinking, all the moving, all the feeling, all the doing, all the being etc. Our eating , exercise , sleeping and thinking will of course impact whether these 100 watts are available but lets just assume for the moment that we're doing all the right things and have 100 watts available.

    Which brings me to what other activities will reduce the level of internal energy available to get what we want done: our emotions. Or more importantly emotions directed at the past or the future. Whether that's reliving not getting that job 3 years ago, anger at your boss for something they said 6 months ago, frustration at ourselves for not taking action sooner or fear about the interview coming up in a month? These all take some of those 100 watts. On a very basic level the past has gone and the future has yet to arrive. The problem is we can spend all of our 100 watts revisiting the past or imagining the future and then find we have no energy available to undertake the tasks of today. Emotions are great and do let us know how we're feeling in the moment. However recycling the emotion so it becomes learnt behaviour and a belief rather than real emotion isn't helpful. The key is being aware when we're in the past or future, and therefore allowing our energy to drain away, and bring ourselves back into the moment.

    How many of 100 watts did you lose today? and what do you need to stop doing to ensure you do have 100 watts tomorrow?

    Alison Smith

    Helping purchasing relationships maintain their energy 07770 538159

    Friday, 25 March 2011

    Childlike Wonder

    This model used by Stephen R Covey in the 8th Habit demonstrates the relationship between all aspects of our life. That is each one of the elements impacts the other. So far in this blog this month I've shared my suggestions on how changes to your mind and body can significantly impact your life. This week I want to touch on the impact our Heart and our emotions can have. There's lots I could say but I was hoping I'd find a story from life to share and only got that last night!

    Talk on the Chris Evans show of the new Chitty Chitty Bang Bang stories took me back to when I saw the musical. I just love musicals and when Chitty flew into the auditorium I'm not sure there was a child in the theater who had a smile wider than me :-). Which had me reminiscing about the Mary Poppins musical and the fabulous dancing to supercalifragilisticexpialidocious - or rather to suoicodilaipxecitsiligarfilacrepus. And then what about when Bert tap dances his way up the side and along the top of the stage curtains! Which meant last night there I was listening, and yes even dancing and singing, along to some of my favourite songs from musicals (you might want to turn your sound down little before using any of the links):

  • Seasons of Love from Rent - how do you measure a year?

  • Defying Gravity from Wicked - I still get goosebumps

  • Circle of Life from Lion King - what about those costumes?

  • Which had me remembering other acts that have amazed and inspired me:
    Cirque du Soleil - La Nouba - the trampoline sequence just has to be seen

    and finally I moved onto my other sing along at the top of my voice songs including:
    Affirmation from Savage Garden

    It's easy to buy into the current situation and believe it's that that's making us feel as we are - especially when it's not as we'd like it to be. We're upset because X did or said Y to us. The reality is we have a choice how we react and sometimes when life is getting us down we simple need to find that child like wonder to get that spring back into our step.

    What would bring some child like wonder into your life this weekend?


    PS I've so loved revisiting these again this morning and hope you all have a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious weekend.

    Friday, 18 March 2011

    Babies do it best

    I stayed at a friends house late last night after attending the CIPS dinner in London. At 4 in the morning their 6 month old son woke and communicated he was hungry in the time honoured tradition.

    In my rather sleepy state I realised that babies are very good at noticing and then asking for their needs to be met - whether that's:

    • to be changed

    • to be fed

    • to be entertained

    • or just receive some TLC

    As we grow older it's as if we stop noticing we also need these things and certainly stop communicating to others how they can help.

    I wonder how your weekend would be different if you took a few tips from when you were younger?

    Wednesday, 16 March 2011

    "You just needed your brain re-tuning"

    My final blog this week was always going to be on exercise but I wanted it to be topical rather than just restating what we all hear time and time again about exercise. Which explains why I'm here again so soon after my last blog because I've got my example and blogging it on Friday pretending it had just happened wouldn't have felt right ......

    I woke this morning in one of those moods - negative, achy, dizzy and struggling to motivate myself. I'd even managed to convince myself that I might have a cold coming. I wondered about cancelling my personal trainer and taking to my bed. I realised, however, as he is often a better judge of my health than me, and since he's got me to the other side too many times in the past to ignore, that he might help again today.

    He arrived and very quickly decided to do something different and cut short the warm up and proceeded to give me my most strenuous session for a long while. Boxing - kick boxing - running!! He repeatedly asked me to push through my resistance and keep going when every muscle (and my head) just wanted to give up. At the end he just pointed out that all I had been thinking before the session was in fact not true and I had just done better than I had for many months "your brain just needed retuning."

    There was a lot going on not least the need to push through but please don't under estimate the power of exercise to shift how we're feeling. I know when we're in one of those moods it's hard to find the motivation and that's one reason I have a personal trainer - but there are other means of ensuring we keep on track e.g. I arrange to go to yoga with a friend to keep us both committed etc. For others it's simply finding a more convenient time.

    My plea is just ensure you do something because it really can make a difference.

    Sleep Scotland - England and Wales too

    It was announced yesterday that a teaching pack created by the charity Sleep Scotland is going to be used to help teenagers in Scotland to get enough sleep.

    In addition to highlighting the benefits of getting enough sleep they are also going to be advised on the impact of watching TV, using mobiles and computers late at night.

    A great example of a simple thing we forget about that can seriously impact our well being. Like all of what I'm sharing this month it's not new. I just hope, like me, you find the occasional reminder useful. If you have all the energy you need and are getting all you want done in life then you're already doing the right things for you. Of course that's the challenge - what works for you might not work for someone else. It's about finding what mix of work, rest and play, and all that encompasses, works best for you.

    So today's question is

    • Are you getting enough sleep?
    That is:

    • Do you know how much sleep allows you to operate at your optimum level?

    • Do you know what personally impacts your ability to get this much sleep?

    • Are you taking appropriate action to make any changes needed?

    Tuesday, 8 March 2011

    Loving what you do isn't enough

    I was listening to Aled Jones talking to Katie Melua this morning and she mentioned having to cancel her last tour due to ill health. She said it had come as as shock because she so loved what she did and thought that was enough. Aled then commented that when on tour himself he's constantly reminded by others not to live on junk foods.

    We don't have to look far in the media to be reminded "we are what we eat". Or the benefits of cutting down on alcohol, caffeine, refined sugar and processed foods. The difficulty, for me anyway, has been taking that information and making it meaningful enough to act as a motivator to make different choices. At some level we all know that too much of all these foods can have a negative impact on our health, weight, mind, energy, vitality, well being and yes even longevity. Yet many of us keep eating too many of these - or is it just me?

    As someone who is very sensitive to the impact of caffeine and alcohol it's not been difficult to cut them out (although I may have something to drink at the CIPS dinner of Thursday). However living on my own and working as I do has always meant I find it easy to skip meals and/or choose ready meals and also reach for the sweets mid afternoon to give me that extra oomph to get through the rest of the day.

    3 weeks ago I went on a food4life workshop that seems to have provided the motivation to start to make healthier choices. I'm sure much of what went on over the 3 days contributed to the change in mindset but 2 statements come to mind and, so far, have stopped me making choices that include ready meals, refined sugars and processed foods. These statements are:

    * Food is medicine
    * Our body doesn't recognise processed foods and doesn't know what to do with them!

    I'm not suggesting that these statements will miraculously change your actions. However if life isn't as you want it I'd strongly encourage you to find your own motivators to making healthier choices because they will ultimately make a big difference in ways I'm not sure we can always expect.

    Please do share what motivates you to make healthier choices - you never know it just may make a difference for someone?

    Alison Smith
    Helping purchasing relationships remain healthy

    This week I'm moving onto our Body's contribution to well being and our ability to have the life we want and get things done. Last week my blog touched on the Mind's contribution.

    Talking to yourself

    The theme this week is the Mind's contribution to us having the life we want. You see for all it's complexity and ability to do amazing things it's also very simple. If your mind hears something enough it believes it. So if you say "I can't" you probably wont!

    Yes it's that simple and before you start saying "I really can't" then just have a look at a previous blog that demonstrated a remarkable change around in my running times during PT. The only difference was I stopped saying "I can't", "It's difficult", "It's impossible", "But".

    Dr David Hamilton has written a number of books detailing the scientific changes that take place in our body when we're positive, kind, or show gratitude. These things really are as important as our five a day. Yes they can improve our health and therefore our ability to achieve things.

    So if you only do one thing this week can I encourage you to observe what you're saying to your self about: you, your abilities, your future achievements and reflect on how these are impacting how you're feeling and what you're choosing to do - or not do. If you think they might not be helping just try cutting them out of your dialogue and even better finding more positive and supportive wording instead. In fact don't just 'try' - DO IT.

    Do let me know how you get on.

    Seek first to know yourself

    Self awareness is the first step in emotional intelligence and it's certainly the first step when wanting to change things when you're not happy with your life. Without self awareness how would you know where to start? How would you know for example:

    * The truth of the current situation
    * What impact fear is having on the current outcome
    * What beliefs you have that may be helping or hindering you
    * How your language is impacting how you're feeling
    * Whether you need to push a head or pull back
    * What you get passionate about
    * Whether what you get passionate about is aligned with those around you
    * What you're motivated towards (pleasure) or away from (the pain)
    * Whether you're better working with others on the changes you want to make, or
    * If you're better doing it on your own, and
    * Which of mind, body, heart and soul is the best place to start.

    Understanding your answers to the questions above will certainly make life easier if you're wanting to make changes.

    Alison Smith
    Helping Purchasing Relationships become more self aware
    This blog is part of a series of blogs on making changes when life is just getting you down. Here's the first in the series I wrote earlier in the month.

    You have to put yourself first

    People often complain about their lack of energy or concentration, not getting anything done, hating their jobs or about failing relationships at home or work. That is people tell us they're not happy with their life.

    The challenge is we can all shout from the roof tops and tell them that they can do something about how they're feeling, that they can improve their relationships or can achieve more. But the crux is it requires doing something different and even more it requires them to make their life a priority.

    If a friend or colleague was not happy with their life what would you do? I bet you'd spend your time trying to get them back on track, to make them smile, to encourage them to take time for themselves. Why is it so often different when we try to do the same for our own lives?

    I was reminded about us having to put ourselves first today in a yoga class when someone was replying to texts between tracks. Her priority was the person needing the reply, and certainly not the tranquility she might have got from an hour of uninterupted yoga. She may have been right. How often, however, do we put others first when we know that it's really us that need the attention and tender loving care?

    The tips this month require those wanting to make changes to be prepared to put themselves first - even if it's only for 5 mins a day.

    Thursday, 3 March 2011

    Don't let it get so bad you smash up a cup cake shop!

    Source: via Alison on Pinterest

    My blog this month is going to explore the following plea from me:

    Please don't allow yourself any excuse for not exploring how to make improvements in your life. And I mean practical things you can do that could dramatically improve your energy, positivity and overall well being and joy for life. Thus allowing you to more easily achieve your goals and live your dreams rather than purely exist.

    In other words if you're not happy with how you're feeling, acting or the things you're achieving or not achieving in life, then please do stop using those excuses and do something. You know the excuses don't you:

    * I don't have time
    * I can't
    * It doesn't matter
    * I can't be bothered
    * I'm happy as I am
    * It wont change anything
    or even
    * It's my age you know

    The homeplay last weekend involved observing how you were feeling and then noticing the impact it had on other people and the impact it had on the outcome of what you were trying to achieve.

    If your answer was 'I was enthused, energised and very happy and it was contagious' you may already know what I'm going to say. If you didn't then for me the crux is this - if you're feeling negative, tired, anxious, angry, or just down right grumpy it can't but have a negative impact on your life e.g:

    * You don't go out to meet friends because you're too tired
    * You fall out with a close friend over something silly
    * You still don't take up that hobby you've been promising to do for years
    * You put on the video for the kids rather than go outside and play with them
    * You sit in front of the TV all weekend and eat rubbish
    * Your blood pressure sky rockets
    * You smash up a cup cake shop or worse (yes someone did just that)

    We often act as if that's what life has thrown at us and just get on with it and put up with the anxiety, the grumps and negativity. My blog this month will explore all those small steps we can all take to make the necessary changes - and some of them are sooooooo easy, and even more effective, and WILL make a difference - or your money back.

    Monday, 28 February 2011

    Who's setting the unrealistic targets?

    Whilst in personal training (PT) today I achieved a 27% reduction in time - I'm giving 15% to improved fitness and 12% to positivity and me setting a totally unrealistic target!!

    In January I set out on a new regime to improve my fitness. Lots of reasons for setbacks in 2010 - no excuses in 2011! 6 weeks ago it took me just under 27 mins to do the circuit - a mix of weights, crunches and running. Today I managed it in just over 19 mins!! Somewhere in between would have been realistic but I had the idea I wanted the number under 20mins!

    I'm sure the fact that I set the target had an impact. If my PT had set the target I'm sure I'd have resisted and never have achieved what I did.

    Just wondering at work if we allow others to set the unrealistic and stretching targets for themselves if we'll all get more done?

    Alison Smith
    Helping purchasing relationships achieve stretching targets

    Friday, 25 February 2011

    Homeplay for the weekend

    A year ago I was asked to blog on well being for HRZone and have been an active blogger since then. Over that time I've continued to share insights, observations and challenges from life. This has covered an array of subjects including motivation, effective communication, integrity and authenticity etc. In other words things that can transform our relationships and help us out of the creeks we find ourselves.

    In March (and possibly even a smidgen in Feb) I'd like to go back to look at well being - for two reasons:

    The 1st: I've just been on a Food4Life workshop and would love to share the learning
    The 2nd: Our well being has a HUGE impact on the quality of our relationships

    To provide you with the motivation to read my blog for the next few weeks I'd like to set you some homeplay (homework but of the fun variety) I'd like you to notice the impact how you're feeling has on others - whether you're:

    Happy, Energised and motivated or
    Angry, tired and apathetic or
    somewhere in between.

    The blog will then look at how to get more of what you want and less of the other.

    Thursday, 10 February 2011

    What's your addiction?

    and I'm not talking about the obvious. I'm talking about the things you find yourself compelled to do and not stop even if they impact your health, relationships, work and/or other aspects of your life negatively (in the opinion of others anyway)?

    Perhaps it's time to face my own addictions I don't know but the last week has been full of people who seem to be addicted to something that is impacting their ability to have the life they want. Here's a sample:
    • I exchanged emails with an ex colleague yesterday who had been so addicted, my words not his, to driving fast that he'd been banned twice and was in danger of killing himself if he continued.
    • A friend can't leave the house without a coffee and has used words such as "it helps me cope with the day" even though she knows that it impacts her health in other less positive ways.
    • Someone tweeted from their bed last night before they went to sleep and then again as they woke this morning.
    • I'm seriously thinking of deleting solitaire off my iPhone because once I start I can't stop "just one more".

    and more generally what about:

    • The frequency we check our emails, twitter, blog etc
    • The burning desire to hoover the house or clean the car :-)
    • The many hours we watch TV
    • etc etc
    These behaviours provide us with something that we want - pleasure. Which in it self isn't a bad thing until we realise:
    • that over time what provides us with that pleasure has diminished and therefore we need to do more in order to get the same level of pleasure, or
    • it's become such a habit that it no longer provides us with pleasure but we still keep doing it, or
    • we've started to believe we can't survive without it.
    What prompted this blog was the fast driving ex colleague who had found a way around his addiction by buying a vintage car that keeps his speed well below the limits.

    Which had me thinking about my 'addictions' and what I believe they give me and how I may get that in more positive ways. I'll let you know how I get on.

    But then I'm addicted to constantly finding things to resolve! and sharing them in the blog too :-)

    Thursday, 3 February 2011

    What unhelpful behaviours do your objectives bring forth?

    Last year I had a call from a market research company checking up on a visit from one of their representatives. Basically to check whether the person had done what they said or had just made me up! The tone of questioning made me feel as if I was on trial. A few weeks ago someone tweeted about an over zealous train conductor who seemed to start with a belief that no was to be trusted. These examples had me thinking about the sorts of values, beliefs and behaviours that are unconsciously built into certain jobs as a result of the objectives set. They may help do the job effectively but they can also have interesting repercussions too.

    What about the following (and yes they're very stereotypical and simply to illustrate the point):

    Politicians: Common sense being ignored in order to disagree with the opposition.
    Dr/Pharmaceuticals: Emphasis is on illness rather well being.
    Advertising: Words that influence are used even if misleading e.g. recent case involving use of 'nutritious'.
    Media: Again words to attract attention are used even if inaccurate
    Police/Traffic wardens: Lack of trust must be inherent
    and from my own experience
    Buyers: Bulldozing of suppliers or internal stakeholders
    Coaches: Finding challenges/issues to resolve

    I just wonder what KPI's could, or already are, put in place to ensure we avoid these types of repercussions?

    Wednesday, 26 January 2011

    Please stop saying the wrong things

    and stop listening, writing and reading them too.

    There are words that have a positive impact on our state of mind and support action towards our desired outcomes. Words that when we hear them continue to allow us to see the opportunities available, that keep our body relaxed and open. Words that support our continued belief in ourselves.

    There are other words that negatively impact our state of mind and generate action that's counter productive to the intended outcome. Words that illicit tension in our body, negative thinking and beliefs. Words that bring up our barriers and defences.

    In other words there are words that help us achieve our goals and words that stop us achieving them. Words that maintain our well being and words that send us into fight or flight. The problem with words that send us into fight or flight is that's not the best state to assess the reality of the situation, to make important decisions or even be that creative.

    I've just looked at BBC news page and notice the following words that to me reinforce the negative and certainly don't help me stay positive: Clash, Terror, Flaw, Dark forces, Lose, Damaged, Disturbed, Chaos, Depression. I assume these words are used to get us to read the report because less negative ones mean we'd not be interested (and yes I'm guilty too with blog headlines to grab your attention).

    Now, more than any time over recent years, is when we HAVE to be able to achieve our goals, be creative and notice the opportunities. The problem is we're using words that are prohibiting that being the likely outcome!

    Helping purchasing relationships find the right words

    Friday, 14 January 2011

    Help me find that logic

    "I know you are right - because I can feel the strength of your conviction - but currently I don't have all the logic in my head that enables me to agree with you. Please help me find that logic."

    This was said to a colleague as we disagreed about something. We'd been speaking for some time and she was getting more and more frustrated that I wasn't agreeing with her.

    I have to say I really did believe she was right because she wasn't someone known to get so vocal unless she was sure about something. However saying these words certainly changed the tone of conversation and enabled us both to find different ways of explaining our positions. It wasn't long before we understood each other.

    Next time you're in disagreement remember change what you're doing to ensure all parties understand the logic in the situation.


    Alison Smith
    Helping purchasing relationships find the logic
    07770 538159

    Wednesday, 12 January 2011

    I intend to be me

    "I intend to be me" was the intention of a recent Transformation Game myself and 3 friends played on New Years eve. What that meant to each of us was very different and included:

    * Standing in our own power and asserting our own needs when with others
    * Willingly putting ourselves out there even if we're not 100% sure
    * Releasing our attachment to moving on
    * Remembering we have an option to do nothing
    * Appreciating ourselves and others
    * Releasing our fear of being wrong
    * Allowing balance into our lives - physically, emotional, mentally and spiritually
    * Remembering that what inspires us provides us with enthusiasm every day

    We realised that "not being me" whether in personal relationships or when at work was too high a price to pay and each committed to release the fear of "being me". Instead we will stand in our power and confidently be ourselves in the world knowing that's how we can make the biggest difference.

    What's stopping you from being you and what do you need to do to release it's hold?


    Alison Smith
    Helping Purchasing Relationships find their Authenticity
    07770 538159